Inappropriate iconography

A reader sent me an example of religious kitsch, but just to be on the safe side, I’m going to have to put it below the fold. There’s nothing obscene about the work in question, but I dare you to look at it and not have wildly inappropriate thoughts skitter through your brain.

I think we need a caption contest for this one.



  1. Steve Murphy says

    (said in the faux-Burns computer voice used by Wayland Smithers – a hat tip to fellow Simpsons nerds):

    He-lo Chil-dren. You… are… quite.. good.. at.. turning… me… on..

  2. says

    What an interesting tidbit of kitsch
    Iconography sure is a bitch
    But I’m sure that the thrust
    Of the thought is: You must
    Turn on Jesus’s love, like a switch

    He said “I am the way and the light”
    And his love is a beautiful sight
    If you join with his flock, you
    Will see–he won’t shock you;
    Turn him on, though, and maybe he might

  3. says

    Well… given that the priests take wine as blood literally, we knew that sexual trauma and repression had to be “justified” somewhere too…

  4. says

    When I was about nine years old, my family and I attended a church in some remote village in northern New York while on vacation. The priest walked out before mass and said “Is anyone here an expert on electronics.” As an amateur radio operator, I raised my hand thinking I could get God-Brownie points.

    The priest said “Thank you, young man, would you mind flipping off the light switch over there by the door…”

    Priests … always trying to be funny.

    So here are my entries:

    “Let there be light. But always use a condom”
    “Turn On Jesus”
    “How many priests does it take to turn on a light bulb? … ”

    By the way, I love the fact that the children on this wall switch (which I assume is a glow in the dark wall switch), are staring at the naughty bits.

  5. MexiPakiJew says

    I had a friend in middle school with one of those! His whole family was evangelical nutcases, of course. He loved it, but didn’t understand why I cracked up laughing the first time I saw the dang thing.

  6. Hank Fox says

    Dang. H. Humbert got there first.

    It’s obvious it should be “Children turn me on.”

    Whew! “Kitsch” is the right word. In this photo, at least, it’s even a tasteless dog-puke green.

  7. DiscGrace says

    Hey Jesus, I know how the verse goes, but I think this would actually be a good time to hide it under a bushel basket.

  8. Hank Fox says

    Second choice:

    “Gloryholes to God in the highest …”

    (Heh. Just puzzled out the lettering above the switch. I think it says “Honor Thy Father and Mother.”)

  9. LisaJ says

    Wow! That is awesome. All 3 of them are just staring at it! Why?!

    I vote for the caption put out by #4. Perfect.

  10. Richard Harris says

    The penultimate verse of the bible seems appropriate.

    Revelation 22:20 He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.

  11. says

    Suddenly the phrase “Get behind me Satan” is sounding worse in my head. Also Matthew 7:3 while we’re making wood jokes “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in someone else’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”

  12. Doug says


    how did the manufacturer/designer/consumer not see how horrible this is?

    Perhaps it’s just niche marketing for Catholic Priests. Notice it says Honor thy Father and Something.

  13. negentropyeater says

    Adaptation from John 8:12

    “Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he who turns me on shall not walk in darkness”

    (replaced “followeth me” with “turn me on”, which has a tickly feeling to it)

  14. says

    On the third day he rose again.

    Had to go to a bible quotes site for the rest:

    “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.'”
    -Matthew 15:11

    “‘Come, follow me,’ Jesus said, ‘and I will make you fishers of men.'”
    -Matthew 4:19

    [Jesus said] “But if anyone causes one of these little ones to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
    -Matthew 18:6

  15. Abby Normal says

    “I want to get down on my knees and start pleasing Jesus.
    I want to feel his salvation all over my face.”

    -Eric Cartman, South Park

  16. hilllady says

    OMG–I once rented a room in a house with a light fixture exactly like that! The former owner was an elderly Catholic lady who had raised six children in the faith. When my friend bought the house from her, we couldn’t bear to mess with the kitsch, so I flipped that switch every evening.

  17. says

    With props to Robert Palmer:

    “When I took you out
    I knew what you were all about
    But when I did
    I didn’t mean to turn you on
    No, I didn’t mean to turn you on
    I didn’t mean to turn you on….”

  18. Jsn says

    “Come a little bit closer children. My rod -my staff will comfort you…”

    or for the lol crowd –

    “Erekshun. I has it.”

    It also makes me rethink the “suffer the children to come unto me” line.

    And thus was how Jesus earned the nickname “Woody”. Amen

  19. says

    Here is my entry for the caption contest, in the style of Biblic intergalactical fanfiction (I mean, the Bible is a work of fiction, so you might as well embellish it a bit).

    “In 33 AD, the ancestors of lieutenant Ripley watch in horror how a chestbuster chews its way out of Jesus of Nazareth through a slightly unusual route.”

    ‘Cause the switch represents an Alien, right?

  20. Kseniya says

    In this photo, at least, it’s even a tasteless dog-puke green.

    Hank, my guess is that the whole thing glows in the dark.

    I’m not clever enough to top anything already posted, so instead I’ll just pretend I have the right to vote on ’em:

    First choice: #23
    Second choice: #36

  21. Sean Craven says

    Have you ever seen those Jack Chick comics where God is pretty much a light bulb? This explains everything.

    And with apologies to Peter McGrath — I’d go with JC/DC.

  22. Chemist says

    Well, the masthead of this site *is*…

    “Evolution, development, and random biological ejaculations from a godless liberal.”

    Go figure… ;-)

    Can never get too much of this genre…

  23. says

    “You can’t touch this – it’s the Sabbath!”

    A professor once explained to me that he, as a child in a Catholic family, would make often make money on Saturdays when Orthodox Jews in his neighbourhood would ask him to turn light switches and other electrical devices on and off and pay him a few pennies for doing so. These religious types are barmy and, as capitalists, we should be finding new and unique ways to exploit their weird phobias for profit.

  24. Christophe Thill says

    I know Jesus loves me, but I just want to be friends.

    (sorry, didn’t invent it, just stole it frome some sig, maybe even here)

    Or :

    Come to my church, I’ll introduce you to all the members.

  25. Steve_C says

    So wait…… getting Jesus turned on provides the energy to power the light?

    Neat. Take that solar panels!

  26. Kseniya says

    Nit-pick; The Neil Diamond song is “(Turn On Your) Heartlight”. The other one is an old rock and roll standard, originally done by… I have no idea! I know of it as a Grateful Dead tune.

  27. peter garayt says

    There is all kinds of this stuff that people with imaginations will have fun with but the makers intent is just to fill the room with as many reminders as possible.
    They didn’t even notice.

  28. Acidhouser says

    De-lurking… “and this, children, is how to recognize a genuine priest”…Re-engage lurking device.

  29. Sam says

    Little Girl: “What is it?”
    Jesus: “Touch it and see. It’s ok, I’m Jesus.”
    Little Boy: “Pshaw. Mohammed’s is bigger”

  30. Curt Cameron says

    The way the children are looking right at the holy member – this had to have been done as a joke by the artist, right? I’m sure it was sold earnestly by a company, but the person who actually made the kids looking there had to have known what he was doing.

  31. says

    Oh, this makes me think of the bit from the wonderfully funny, satirical movie The Ruling Class where Peter O’Toole straps himself up in a cross and cries out “I am the electric Messiah! The AC/DC god!” (Sampled in the song Cooler Than Jesus by My Life With the Thrill Kill Cult.)

  32. Sam says

    I would say that this is blasphemous and the guy who made this should be switched on and then permanently off.

  33. says

    The gift priests give to children to show them what they just did wasn’t bad…and to bribe them to keep it hush hush.

  34. says

    The sacred part of Jesus.

    (To non-lapsed Catholics, the eerily lurking JC on top of the switch is Himself in Sacred Heart mode. Usually a 3ft high statue with a mournful JC opening His robes so the heart shows, wreathed by the crown of thorns with a crucifix sticking out where the plumbing normally emerges. There may be flames on the deluxe version. Classy Catholic houses in Manchester – those of us with a priest in the family – had the statue. Low-rent families just a print. Tacky families had one of those bonkers 3-d prints where Jesus’ eyes would follow you round the room. The hands would touch the heart and do a blessing, too. I’m not making this up.)

  35. Todd says

    “Moms and dads! Worried about your son turning gay?”

    “Why yes I am! But what’s a good Christian mother to do?”

    “Well, worry no more! Introducing JizzUs Jumper!”

    “JizzUs Jumper?!”

    “Just install over any light switch. If little Johnny leaves his light on all day or obsessive compulsively flicks the switch then you’ll know he’s gay!”

    “Wow! Who knew that finding out if your son was gay could be so simple?”

    “That’s right! With JizzUs Jumper you find out fast and easy so you can jump right in and send little Johnny to bible camp where he can be retrained to be completely heterosexual! All for only $4.99!”

    “Thanks JizzUs Jumper!”

    “Order your JizzUs Jumper TODAY!

    Price does not include shipping and handling. Allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery. Product not sold in Alaska, Hawaii or to Catholic priests.”

  36. Shawn says

    The metal band Ministry said it best, in their song “Psalm 69:”

    “And now, it’s time to give a lil’ love back to God!”

  37. Jit says

    “This is what you should grope for in the dark, kids.”

    Lol version: “I laf at ur puny atheist pricks”

    winner is qedpro (#71)

  38. says

    Paul, Paul, it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

    Nice one, Scott–OT, are you familiar with Johnny Cash’s “The Man Comes Around”?

    If not, I strongly recommend listening to it.

  39. tim quick says

    John 6:53

    “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.”

  40. Billy says

    #7, I think the twist you’re looking for is:

    “Suffer me to come unto the little children.”

  41. ildi says

    It has been explained to me that the reason I make my born-again brother so agitated when I tell him I am very happy being a deist (I lie to him because the a-word would probably give him a stroke or something) is that we all have this hole in our lives, see, and only Jesus can fill it. We may try to fill this hole with money, or drugs, or alcohol, but ultimately we all have to come to the realization:

    “Only Jesus can fill your hole!”

  42. Shelama says

    I always wondered about Jesus’ sexuality, but had concluded before now that he was just “turn the other cheeks” gay. There’s obviously more to the story.

  43. Helioprogenus says

    “Arouse me and I shall illuminate thy path”
    So this is how he reanimated lazarus from the dead. Should have guessed.

  44. says

    The path to hell is easy and soft, but my way is hard sayeth the Lord. Great (look at the size of it) will be your reward, if you but kneel and serve me.

    Even so, come Lord Jesus (Rev. 22:20).

    (You know what any UDites coming over here are thinking–straight to hell, and the sooner the better).

    Glen D

  45. Seamus says

    I almost didn’t click to see.
    I was expecting the Baby Jesus Butt Plug.
    I shall not link as I am at work; use your ‘fu.

  46. Dahan says

    Old and stolen, but the line “Jesus loves me… but I make him wear a condom.” comes to mind.

  47. J Daley says

    I actually have one of those at my parents’ house! It’s still in my brother’s room!

    Even when I was a kid, I got the weird phallicness of the switch and thought it was funny.

  48. Juan says

    Come on! 138 comments and no Michael Jackson jokes yet? This proves MJ is just a strict Christ follower.

  49. Kurt says

    From #55:

    “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean,’ but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean.'”
    -Matthew 15:11

    So the Bible says it’s okay as long as he/she swallows?

  50. LeeLeeOne says

    A cousin of mine had a picture of jesus with mary at his feet and she decoupaged this picture into a light switch. Tell me if that was not yucky as a little kid! Blech, ptooey, gag, choke, cough….

  51. CalGeorge says

    “I am the light(switch) of the world: He that turns me on shall not walk in darkness, but shall witness my erection.”

  52. mrh says

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the Coming of the Lord.

    Jesus loves me, this I know, ’cause his “light switch” tells me so.

    Suffer the little children to go down on Me.

  53. Fritz J. says

    Jesus loves me! This I know,
    For the Bible tells me so.
    Little ones to Him belong;
    They are weak, but He is strong.

    Yes Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me;
    Yes Jesus loves me, the bible tells me so.

  54. Michael X says

    “Dick and Jane and Jesus were all having a grand ol time. And then Billy stopped by!”

    I also think Epikt has a winner though.

  55. says

    My first thought upon seeing these (the OP and #148) was, “Are they blind? Don’t they realize what this looks like?”

    My second thought was that, yes, that is probably the case. There is often a great deal of sexual repression going on in the minds of the extremely religious. This explains, in part, abstinence campaigns and the obsession with homosexuals. They actually just see a light switch honoring “the Lord”, and don’t notice his enormous wang inviting you to (or the children) to flick on the lights by masturbating him.

  56. mayhempix says

    A little twist on an old authoritarian addage:

    “Share the switch, soil the child.”

  57. Sebastian says

    “Ith it weally okay to do that, mithter Jethuth?”

    “Sure, kids – except on the sabbath day, of course”

  58. jmaline says

    I had one of these in my childhood bedroom. Never thought it was dirty. Then again I was a little kid… By the way, not crazy religious, pretty normal catholic upbringing.

    (remembering where I am)
    OK, crazy catholic. Not crazy crazy catholic. Feeling better now.

  59. TisStupid says

    The switch is quite a bit too low and misshapen to be considered a phallus. The Jesus figure is slightly hunched moving his waist back from the foreground.

    It is obvious that neither the artist, or the purchasers of this switch cover thought it would be deemed inappropriate. I have often wondered the psychological makeup of those who feel the need to associate a sexual connotation with that of innocence.

  60. mrh says

    It’s a phallus symbol if it’s longer than it’s wide.

    Nitpick all you like, but that there’s a Holy Dong.

    “I have often wondered the psychological makeup of those who feel the need to associate a sexual connotation with that of innocence.”

    Whereas seeing the face of Jesus in a grilled cheese sandwich is entirely rational.

  61. Kseniya says

    I have often wondered the psychological makeup of those who feel the need to associate a sexual connotation with that of innocence.

    Ask your local priest.

    I think you’re right, though. There’s nothing sexual about the plate. Jesus appears to be perched on a unicycle.

  62. CalGeorge says

    “Look, kids, I had my balls tattooed with the word ON! It stands for “onanism rocks”! Can you say that? Onanism? Sure you can.”

  63. Mena says

    If you guys think that this is bad, my mother has something similar but it’s Mary. No luck in finding a picture of it using the Google but it’s also that cheap plastic.

  64. says

    From a christian hymn:

    “…Now I raise my Ebenezer…”

    From Wikipedia:

    Eben-Ezer (Hebrew: אבן העזר‎, Even Ha’Ezer, lit. stone of help)

  65. StockC says

    “If anyone says one word about this, you are going straight to HELL!”

    Seriously, I am surprised that no evangelicals have materialied here and told you that all posters here will suffer eternal damnation.

  66. kmarissa says

    I’m with TisStupid. I’m astounded at the perversion shown here. All I see is a fully grown man gently drawing two small children toward an upwardly angled, nearly cylindrical bulge protruding from his body from somewhere between his waist and his knees. Nothing humorous there.

    The fact that the lower, non-protruding half of the switch vaguely resembles a hanging ballsack is also purely coincidental. And not at all funny.

  67. Tina Rhea says

    I’ve seen one of these with Michaelangelo’s David, but I assumed that was deliberate… and no little kids on that one.

  68. Norm says

    God said “Let there be light” and it was wood … er, good. Yes, it was very, very good!

  69. Anon says

    Actually, with regard to the link in #185–look at the disclaimer at the bottom. They no longer sell outside the US, because of… Texas Law.

    I thought the puritans were in New England….

  70. Dahan says

    “You’re all going to hell.”

    Hard to go to a place which doesn’t exist. Of course if you know where it is perhaps you could shed some light on the subject…

  71. Nana says

    Jesus said: “Come, little children, do not be afraid. It won’t hurt you.”

    Bad Jesus said: “Flick my dick!”

  72. Brian says

    It’s okay children “this” is the way of your god. Now remember to pray so you can feel like you are doing something without really doing anything.

  73. Lori Anne says

    I like danley’s “erect an example for the children”

    Rock on … no pun intended regarding jesus getting his rocks off!

  74. RamblinDude says

    I’m wondering what it’s made out of.

    Possibly boner china, although it does look rather woody. It also looks like the knob needs polishing. Someone should wax it good. I’d advise being careful though, it might be quite hard and you could end up jerking it right off.

    And I’m outa here!

  75. irw says

    The photographer’s dilemma here fascinates me: When taking a picture of this, which position should the switch be in?

  76. TisStupid says

    Kmarissa, unless penises grow out of kneecaps, I’d say this is more wishful thinking than the pedophilia fantasy some seem to be having here.

  77. Barney says

    Cows from Minneapolis had a single mined similar territory with the cover art (scroll down to the second image from the top) for “In the mouth,” the b-side to their non-hit single, “Plowed.”

    (not that anyone cares this late in the thread)

  78. bill carli says

    i can see the religious right’s reason for this. realizing that a 33-year-old unmarried male who hung around all day with his 12 male friends is obviously gay, they decided to cut their losses by using this to prove that indeed, all child molestors are gay. They may lose a savior but they establish another falsehood in their fight for bigotry.

  79. Allen says

    HEY This IS for real, all you who asked. From 1959 until 1979 this light switch was over my head in my bedroom! My parents, who are 84 years old, STILL have this switch plate in a bedroom in their house. I used to lay in bed at night and once in a while look up and wonder “why are they staring at Jesus’ Pee pee!!!” HONEST. After I got married in the 1980s, my wife and I stayed at my parents house over Christmas holidays and my wife would crack up at the light switch over our heads. The funniest thing is………my parents had absolutely NO problems or thoughts about this being sexual at all. My parents are both VERY VERY devote Catholics and very strict about sex or anything to do with it. I never saw an M rated movie (before the PG and PG-13 ratings) until I was 17 years old and went out with my best friend without my parents knowing it!

  80. Stevie-Q says

    A few posters almost had it… it’s:

    “Suffer me to come unto the little children.”

  81. Michael X says

    Holy hell! I get to crack a joke about christian iconography, AND offend someone in one thread?! Quick! somebody gimmie a baby to eat and I’ll have the whole evil atheist trifecta! I might even kick a puppy for an encore…

  82. Ali says

    My first thought was, “Oh my fucking god”.

    Then I realized – that’s the perfect caption, too!

  83. says

    obviously this is a scene from one of the lost bible verses.

    “Thou shalt partake of my bread, and yea, from this day forward thou shalt refer to thine bread as ‘the body of christ'”

  84. Adrienne says

    Re: #131: “”If this light remains on for more than four hours, consult your physician.”

    Shouldn’t Jesus be the one calling his physician? Who is Jesus’s physician anyway? St. Luke?

  85. Carlie says

    I’m sure one of you did it (‘fess up!) but LOLtheist now has this photo with the caption “Light switch Jesus loves children very VERY much”.

  86. LadyCrow says

    #88: The song covered by the Grateful Dead was “Turn On Your Lovelight” by Bobby “Blue” Bland.

    “And leave it on!” — Pigpen

  87. Epikt says


    Re: #131: “”If this light remains on for more than four hours, consult your physician.”

    Shouldn’t Jesus be the one calling his physician? Who is Jesus’s physician anyway? St. Luke?

    Unlikely. If Jesus was really male, after four hours he’d be calling all his buddies and bragging about it.

  88. says

    “If you turn Jesus off, you’ll go blind” or “If you turn Jesus off, you’ll be in the dark.” Maybe you could work “eternal darkness” into it?

    Seems like a perfectly reasonable religious message to me. Easy for me to imagine the appropriate sermon. However, I’m not up on the most appropriate Biblical quotes.

  89. says

    I think it would probably look just a tiny bit less obscene in the “on” position (and when it’s in the “off” position, the room would be dark anyway).

    Of course, in a hall-and-landing setup, all bets are off because there is always a way for the light to be on when one of the switches is “up”.

  90. H.Trimegestis says

    “Now turn the other cheek.”


    “For I am the light and the res-ERECTION. Get it? See, because, light-switch, right– and check out my boner.”


    “Lazarus, ARISE!… I call him Lazarus.”


    “Consider the lillies of the valley.And by that I mean my penis.”


    “This is my body you eat.”


    “Yes, Jesus loves me. The bible (and his proud erection) tells me so.”


    “I am risen!”


    “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone… at my boner.”

  91. noncarborundum says

    I think it would probably look just a tiny bit less obscene in the “on” position (and when it’s in the “off” position, the room would be dark anyway).

    Of course, in a hall-and-landing setup, all bets are off because there is always a way for the light to be on when one of the switches is “up”.

    Color me surprised. On what part of the planet is “up” not the “on” position?

  92. says

    “On what part of the planet is “up” not the “on” position?”

    Two situations:

    1. On multi-switch controls, as seen on landings. Flicking any switch changes the state of the light, so there is no certinty about up-or-down-on.

    2. When someone has been doing DIY, and either thought it wouldn’t matter which hole they stuck the wire in or didn’t think about which way up they should install the switch.

  93. Jason says

    Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world. Red or yellow black or white they are precious in his sight…

  94. Tom says

    Strange, I thought the christian way was that it was up when the lights where down. Did I miss something the pope said?

  95. LT says

    I’m wondering if this will turn into a Huckabee Campaign speech

    120 volts would flick your unit upright too.

    Jesus isn’t circumsized. Who knew?